Views & Reviews Between the Lines

His gastronomical practices

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e5276 (Published 07 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5276
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

A US magazine once asked me to write an article about doctors who had become political leaders: presidents, prime ministers, that kind of thing. What I discovered was that doctors were better at being dictators than democrats. By “better” I mean more fitted by experience and temperament, not better morally.

Doctors have always been prepared to step outside their professional field, in a wide variety of roles—for example, that of cook. The most famous medical cook was, perhaps, William Kitchiner (1775-1827), whose book, The Cook’s Oracle: Containing Receipts for Plain Cookery on the Most Economical Plan for Private Families, Being the Result of Actual Experiments in the Kitchen of William Kitchiner …

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